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tv   Weekends With Alex Witt  MSNBC  February 17, 2013 12:00pm-2:00pm EST

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here are the stories trending at this hour. picking a new pope. drones under fire. oscar winner falsely accused of shoplifting. we have details and those stories throughout the hour. first. a huge turnout at the vatican today as pope benedict blessed the faithful overlooking st. peter's square. cardinals will vote for a successor. now we may see white smoke rising from the sistine chapel earlier than expected. >> reporter: alex, 50,000 people came to hear the pope. double the size from last week. this is the first pope in modern
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history to resign the post. he spoke in six languages and thanking them for prayers and support and adding in his german, that these were difficult days. the crowd in turn responded with respect and affection. in rome, where there is no shortage of must-see attractions, suddenly pope benedict is the main stay. this crowd was worthy of a rock star. his exit from his last public mass on ash wednesday turned churchgoers into paparazzi. the season of lent is now a celebration of the 85-year-old pontiff. the hottest ticket in town benedict's final audience on february 27th, the day before he steps down. 35,000 people have already requested free tickets says the vatican.
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but this extraordinary step creates an extraordinary problem. the church will have two living popes. >> there are lots of stories. >> reporter: author george wiegel. >> there are technically not two popes. he ceases to be pope on february 28th. i think he will make that work because he will simply retire into the deep background and not be seen in public. >> reporter: a meeting with rome's priests, benedict says he will remain hidden from the world. eventually he will live in vatican city. close to the new pope. >> i would think the new pope would come in and seek his advice and do something quietly. the pope going to the monastery
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is the pope going to the monastery. >> reporter: as cardinals joseph ratzinger, he was labelled god's rottweiler. he was shown a gentle side. never more so than meeting with sex abuse victims in his 2008 trip in the u.s. he saved his biggest surprise for last says john thamus who covered the vatican for 30 years. >> he will be remembered as the pope who resigned. it will be greatest gift to the church. >> reporter: currently, the conclave to elect the successor to benedict xvi is to happen between march 15th and march 20th. there is talk of moving that date up. all of the cardinals are expected to be here on february
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28th. alex, back to you. anne thompson, thank you. the blame game on tsequestratio. the new york times says those will cut 14,000 teachers and employees. and 250,000 civilians employed by the army could be furloughed for up to 22 days. aircraft would forego maintenance. >> it's the president who proposed this sequester. is the house with smarter cuts in other areas of government. >> the fact is this was never the president's idea. this was the result of hostage
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politics in the republican party. this is what you have. this is the message you have when you get into those hostage polit politics. >> joining me now is marge ri margoryhyle. who is right? >> i don't think anybody is right in this situation. it is partisan politics. both sides signed off on the sequestration. if you put a package out there that is onerous, it would drive the parties to the table. the republicans signed off on it. they voted for it. everybody's fingerprints on this deal. it looks like it is going to happen. although it is not like the debt ceiling where immediately you feel the pain the day after. it takes a while for the pain to
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be felt. there is about three weeks before the money runs out for the government to function. i think in that period of time, they will come up with some better arrangement than the axe across the cleaver. there will be significant spending reduction. this may be the first time people will feel it. >> emily, you are right there in d.c. from all of the folks you are talking with right now, do you hear anything? we have 11 days before it goes into effect. >> i feel like there is a lot of urgency behind contingency planning. i feel like there is much more of an inevitability.
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there is a sense more so than the fiscal cliff. the cuts come in more gradually and there there is more time. the deadline will pass. the feeling of inevitability. there is a lot of contingency planning going on. >> we will talk about this next weekend as it looms closely with the deadline. let's switch gears and talk with eleanor about the opposition to the nominee john hhagel. here is senator john mccain on "meet the press." >> we feel he will have the votes to be confirmed as the secretary of defense. i don't intend to give those up when other senators continue to have reasonable questions. i mean reasonable. >> you are not a yes vote for your old friend?
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>> no, i don't believe he is qualified. i don't believe we should hold up his nomination any further. >> can you tell me what is going on here, eleanor with this? we have a week delay and probably going to be confirmed. >> senator hagel supported barack obama over john mccain. i think it is very personal with mccain. i think with other republicans, they are looking ahead to the 2014 races and they don't want to be primaried from the right. they have to look tough here. in the end, they are saying he will get through. he will get through without perhaps any republican votes or a handful of republican votes. i don't think that say very good message to send to the rest of the world the politics the republicans are playing in this. mccain, he wants to have it both ways. he wants to say i'll hold him
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up, but he will get through. he doesn't entirely want his fingerprints on this either. the kind of politics that everybody seems to play is blame-free politics. it is not possible. the public is sitting out there and they will blame everybody in the end. >> eleanor and emily, sit tight. we will learn details about the president's immigration reform. this is from the chief of staff. >> will be prepared and the bipartisan talks on the hill that we're supporting, if those do not work out, we will have an option that we'll be ready to put out there as the president said in las vegas. >> kristen welker is in port st. lucie. what is this plan? >> reporter: this is the plan that was leaked to the newspaper today.
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it would include permanent residency in eight years and more funding for border security and requiring business to check immigration status. some people looking at that proposal and saying it was actually farther to the left than some of the contours of senate plan that we believe are coming together. under the senate plan, citizenship would have to depend on the borders being secure. now the white house not confirming that usa today article, but dennis mcdonough today making the points that president obama will put his own proposal forward if congress cannot come up with a plan. as of right now, the white house wants to give congress a chance to act on immigration reform. but marco rubio within hours released a statement saying the president's plan is dead on
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arrival. that is evis enraging the immign debate. the white house saying it does seem as though the process is moving forward. just to put this in larger context. if you look at the debates on the horizon and the sequester of gun control. they feel it has the best chance of passing because of the 2012 race where the president got the large majority of latino voters. again, this leak certainly enflaming the debate. >> kristen, thank you. emily, you heard kristen talk about rubio's statement. here is the detail of the osedpn arrival and leaving us with a
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broken system for years to come. emily, what is the response to that tell you? >> it is a pretty hot response. in what has been so far a measured sense of negotiation going on in the senate. i hope the white house would keep the volume lower on this and make sure that cooler heads prevail. it is when you get that bipartisan group of senators working together that you get some product that congress can pass. that is the only place that will happen. when you hear flame throwing like this going on, it sheds doubt on the process. i'm sure the white house was not pleased to hear that. they would like for congress to do something, but they are readying this plan in case that doesn't happen. a show of good faith to their constituents. that they really are serious about this negotiation process. but i think that rhetoric may jam things up. >> so, eleanor, emily is saying
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that the white house went and took the first step on this and worry that congress would not come up with their own plan. really? do you think the white house should have superseded a plan? couldn't they have done it afterwards? >> i think this is politics as usual. each side has their base con the city constituency. they are viewing this as drags his feet. the republicans ran a whole campaign last year against any amnesty and wanting people to self deport. they can't just calmly walk away from all of that. i think this is part of the give and take. this is early in the process. you talked earlier about the sense of urgency that it doesn't exist about the sequester. i feel the white house feel there is a window here to get
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this accomplished. if it drags on, inertia will kill it. it is too early to be alarmed. immigration has a good chance to pass on capitol hill. >> ladies, thanks so much as always. west coast headlines is next with a witness from the o.j. simpson trial weighing in on the experience all these years later. what do president obama and a rubik's cube have in common? fc ? ju begin th america's favorite soups. bring out chicken broccoli alfredo. or best-ever meatloaf. go to for recipes, plus a valuable coupon. campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do.
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some headlines making news on the west coast, the arizona republican has the story that is this mccain's last term? the article says there is renewed speculation among
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washington insiders that mccain is focusing on his legacy and that this might indicate he doesn't intend to seek a sixth term. the tribune has the story "witness to o.j." about the former limo driver who picked simpson up the night nicole simpson and ron goldman were murdered. the networks of nbc news have taken a special look at the gun debate in america. while many are calling for fewer guns, nbc's craig melvin visits a town outside atlanta with a different approach to gun control. >> reporter: isha wolf carries for protection. >> a serious first weapon. >> my favorite one is down here.
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this was a.41. >> reporter: they keep about a dozen guns in their georgia home. in their city, 30 miles north of atlanta, it is the law. >> the head of household with within kennesaw has an ordinance. >> reporter: in protest as a pr move, they responded with their law. mandating gun ownership. many are convinced it had an effect. >> our crime rate is one of the lowest in the metro atlanta area. >> reporter: just 5,000 lived in the sleepy town then and gun violence was rare. roughly 30,000 are there now. there are fewer crimes there than cities of similar size. >> no study that i have seen that contributes to having guns
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in the home. >> the second talk on gun control. >> reporter: he is a political science professor who looked at kennesaw's law. >> you are 43% times more likely to shoot someone in the home if you have a gun. >> a shotgun rack pulled back or this sound which is scarier. they may just turn around and leave. >> reporter: robert jones believes the ordinance is a psychological affect on criminals. >> kennesaw, they all have guns. >> reporter: jones has written about the unusual ordinance and gets lots of calls after national tragedies. virginia tech, newtown and colorado. few changes of heart or mind
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about gun laws. >> i don't think we need anymore. i think we need to enforce the ones we have. >> a lot of the concern was the backlash with calls for changes to the gun law and restrictions on ownership. >> reporter: as the national debate on gun control continues, no one in kennesaw is aiming to change the ordinance. >> gun control is sure to remain at our near the top of the president's agenda as it will for many on capitol hill. inside the oval office, what is the president like? one tells us it is like office politics. first, a night from "saturday night live's" weekend update. >> they would not proceed with the nomination of chuck hagel until the obama administration
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now to a list of today's number ones. we begin with keeping the fate or not. the gallop survey of the least or most religious states. mississippi has 58% being religious. utah and alabama are tied. louisiana is not too far behind. vermont is the least in terms of following by new hampshire and maine. another gallop poll. 10% of those polled stated they were lesbian, gay or bisexual or transgender. . even the williams sisters cannot let apple stop from being
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cool. apple lost to slipping to second and google to complete the tech triumvant. i never thought i would be here. >> an emotional serena williams after the win in qatar. the top of the rankings. at 31, she is the oldest to hold tennis' top spot. those are the number ones are weekends with alex witt. anlunesta®(eszopiclone) can help you get there. like it has for so many people before. when taking lunesta, don't drive or operate machinery until you feel fully awake. walking, eating, driving, or engaging in other activities while asleep, without remembering it the next day, have been reported. lunesta should not be taken together with alcohol. abnormal behaviors may include aggressiveness, agitation, hallucinations, or confusion. in depressed patients, worsening of depression,
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republicans are holding up two of president obama's critical nominations. it will not be smooth sailing for secretary nominee jack lew. joining me is ron christie and former pennsylvania governor ed rendell. good to see you both. >> good afternoon, alex. >> ron, i'll have you listen to the senator's interview this morning. let's take a listen. >> jack lew, a long history of public service. they have to ask and answer questions regarding his time on wall street and the large bonus payment that he got not too long before the big bailout of the group he was working for on wall street. his investments in the cayman islands for which the president criticized mitt romney. >> problems with bonuses and investing in the cayman islands. they were not problems for mitt
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romney. he did not have problems with him when he was going for the presidency. >> the democrats did. made issue shielding money overseas. my problem with jack lew, alex, he was the director of the office of management and budget. the statute says they are required to have a budget. if he can't balance the budget, why should we think he would do the same with the treasury? >> you heard what he was saying. i'll play devil's advocate. isn't this just as critical for president obama as for the republicans? >> look, i think there is nothing wrong with republican senators asking those questions. i think they are entitled to have answers. that is part of the confirmation process. there is nothing wrong if they don't like the answers to vote no. the question is will we filibuster cabinet appointments?
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will we do that for the first time in american history? if we do that, obviously, they will stall and defeat the president's cabinet nominees. they will do so at their own risk. right now, the party is a party that just says no and has no solutions. if they filibuster cabinet nominees, they will cement in the public mind, they are the party of no and the party that wants to stop everything. >> beyond that being the party of no, ron, you have republicans quite blatentally saying we want more information on benghazi. does that put the country at risk? >> i don't think it does. you look for the amount of time and take for example, you have
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lamar alexander, the democrats held his nomination up for two months. i have serious questions and reservations about chuck hagel. he hasn't said kind things about israel. there are strong questions about his style and skills. i give the president great deference. the president should be given deference for his nominees and picks. give him an up or down vote. >> that is what will happen. that is what they are going toward. >> alex, to quote a famous person, they deserve a vote. >> i know who said that. okay. the prez. you know what? governor, who looks worse here? a second-term president who could not use his clout to get a nomination or hostage politics? >> if it was a straight up or down vote, he could get that.
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he got the four senators who voted against the filibuster. he got 59 senators. it's safe to assume he would get confirmed by at least 59. i don't think he looks weak. i think the republican party looks like jackasses. >> can we say that on tv? we just did. >> a donkey say jackass. >> oh, come on. the same can be said for bush for the republicans and harry reid. >> they did not filibuster them. >> that sets a dangerous precede precedent. >> by the way, alex, i blame harry reid and the democrats, too. we had a chance at the beginning of the congress. we had a chance to make real filibuster reform and we took a pass. >> okay. you make a good point there. let's listen to john mccain talking about immigration. here it is. >> the president, obviously has some thoughts about immigration reform which he drafted and
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guided his agencies to comment on. if the president proposes legislation, do you think it will fail? >> of course. of course it will. that is why we are working together, republicans and democrats, by the way he had no communications with the congress. i believe we are making progress in a bipartisan basis. >> does this sound like republicans saying no for any of the president's proposals? >> no. >> no. >> my problem with president obama is alex, he does not negotiate with republicans. he doesn't bring the leadership up to talk to him. he doesn't make phone calls. >> does he do that with democrats? >> that is true. the republicans control one chamber of congress. my former boss brought democrats in all the time.
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we were able to forge for no child left behind. president obama has to recognize he is the president of the united states. not the president of the democratic party. he needs to reach out to republicans. >> ed? >> i think ron is leaving out a bit of history. i think in 2011, the president and speaker boehner negotiated very hard and were very close to a big deal. the grand bargain. speaker boehner could not get it through his caucus. the president has in the past shown inclination to work with republicans. he has nothing in return. senator mccain, give him credit for being honest. his statement, alex, i thought was shocking. if the president proposes an immigration bill, will it fail? yes. because the president proposed it? whether it is a good bill or satisfies the goals? no. if it is president obama's bill, we will filibuster it. >> of course, the thing with president obama and his bill, he wants people to have amnesty
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after eight years. this is the wrong idea. people who are here illegally, they need to pay back taxes and follow the rule of law. the president wants to give them a pass. >> ron, i have no problems if they state their opposition to the president's bill for that purpose. let's not play this game if the president introduces it, it is dead on arrival. he is the president of the united states. you made a good point. we democrats supported a lot of president george w. bush's key items. >> this is where we agree. let's give it up or down vote. >> let's end it on that. let's go to number three on the first five web stories. the russian meteor blast. it was larger than first thought. 40 people are still hospitalized. [ female announcer ] today, jason is here
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and now get 50% off banners and posters. staples. that was easy. looking ahead to a shorter week on wall street. all stock and bond markets will be closed monday for presidents' day. we will hear from wal-mart and nordstrom and aig. we will hear from dell. it is in the midst of a $24 billion takeover attempt. quarterly earnings are expected to drop. lots of data on the housing market this week. numbers on existing home sales and mortgage applications. in today's politics, best selling author jonathan alter. first, i asked him to share some
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of the insights he gathered into president obama while writing his book, "the promise." >> one difference between president obama and some of his predecessors is he is very hands on. i spend a lot of time in "the promise" describing a meeting. his strength is in these meetings where he is very focused in drilling down on the policy issues. so, in some ways, the identity of various staffers is not hugely important. he is not taking a hugely amount of advice from people. he has clear ideas where he wants to go. as his friend marty nesbitt told me, he has a rubik's cube in his brain. if i move this part here, does
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it go there. will it work out for him always? no. i will talk about in my next book where it went wrong for him, especially in 2011, the worst year his presidency where he made a number of rookie mistakes. he has a sense of where he wants to go and the extraordinary thing to me was the campaign and that new chicago political machine that he built or that his people built. i'm deeply interested in how that worked because given the state of the economy, he probably should have lost and he won not just because of mitt romney's inadequacies, but because he built the finest political organization in recent american history with more than 1 million volunteers. >> you share that in common with
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barack obama. his hometown of chicago. your hometown is chicago. >> i met barack obama in 2002 and at that time he had just lost for the house of representatives. he told me when we first met when my aunt had died and he came over to pay respects to my cousin's house. he said he was going to run for the u.s. senate. i remember thinking, wow, that's a lot of nerve. he just lost for the house and he is running for the senate? yes, i knew him and i knew a lot of the people around him in chicago for many years because i grew up in chicago politics. my mother was a politician. my mother new barack obama in the '80s. so, you know, in some ways i'm
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familiar with the political environment that he came out of and i think that, you know, it's giving me a little bit more insight going back with these folks for quite a long period of time. although they don't all like what i put in the book about them. >> talk about your kids. are you a tough dad? >> i'm not a tough dad. they tend to run roughshod over me a fair amount of time. they do it in a generally respectful way. i think i'm now getting out of the eyeball roll years where they react that way to me. i'm moving to a better place with them which is good. >> this is hysterical. the eyeball roll years. i'm in those. take me to the take your kids to workday with mikhail gorbechev.
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>> it was ten years ago when mikhail was in new york. i had an interview scheduled with him. i brought them to meet gorbechev. they sat through the interview. the picture came out and a friend said that is from the wax museum? i said no. that is gorbechev. >> his book, "the center holds" will be in bookstores in may. next weekend, my interview with former new york mayor david dinkins. then the oscar winning actor falsely accused of shoplifting. forrest whitaker was stopped and frisked. the actor's representative said
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in a new interview today, congress member mike rogers shed light on how much congress knows about the obama administration's drone strikes. >> terrorists, but american citizens were killed. you talked about oversight. you think there is oversight for the drone program. were you told in advance of the killings? >> for the planning purposes of air strikes against terrorists overseas? yes. if people make the target list, we know that in advance. >> joining me on the phone is congress member peter welch. >> thank you. >> before we get to the question of transparency, sir, do you agree with the use of drones in countries where we are not
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technically at war? >> that is the big challenge. there has to be a system of checks and balances. the drone is not a policy. it's a weapon system. a lot of us would agree if we had an opportunity to take out osama bin laden with special forces or drone in pakistan, our self defense right would give us the right to take action. it has moved well beyond that. there is now a situation where the president is the judge, jury and executioner. it is thornier of who is on the target list and the system of checks and balances according to the constitutional system of government. the time for review of how we make these decisions is long overdue. it should involve congress. i think more actively than it does right now. also, i think there should be some judicial participation as
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well. >> i'm getting a sense you believe that one person regardless of republican or democrat shouldn't be afforded all that power in a single set of hands. >> that's right. i feel that quite strongly. this is not about bush or obama. we have to give the commander in chief some flexibility. he more than anyone else has the responsibility to keep us safe. there are enormous questions of how that hopower will be used. >> i have a question. what about the targeted killings of american citizens, although those as known terrorists like anwar al awlaki. >> i don't think we had the right to go after him wherever he was. we do have constitutional rights and a system of checks and balances. i believe it is absolutely essential that we incorporate those checks and balancing with
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judicial oversight and constitutional standards in the case of an american citizen. >> let's take a listen to the president's state of the union where he talks about the drones. >> throughout, we have kept congress fully informed of our efforts. i recognize in our democracy, no one should just take my word for it that we're doing things the right way. the months ahead, i will continue to engage congress to ensure the targeting of terrorists is consistent with laws and system of checks and balances, but our efforts are more transparent. >> is that correct? have you been kept fully informed? >> anybody off the intelligence committee has not. we don't have any information about what is going on or what the planning is on the target list.
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the folks on the intelligence committee has more information, but none of us have any idea of the information they have. they cannot talk to their staff or talk to fellow colleagues. they are sworn to secrecy. it is all kept in secret. that is a problem. if something involves important american policy and you can't discuss it, obviously there is not going to be a democratic debate about it. that is problematic. congress as a whole does not have a clue what is going on with the targeting and the execution and implementation of the plan. >> describe to me the ideal scenario. are we talking about a special court to decide who gets killed? >> there are two things. to the extent we use the power, you need a special court to review it. there has to be involvement. just like the court that allows some surveillance of american citizens. secondly, there has to be more
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active congressional participation. there are legal and moral questions and the checks and balances go to that. there is a political question. because the use of drones in some places in a war theater or special forces, that's obviously totally appropriate under current laws of war. when you are talking about using a military option in an independent country with which we're not at war, it raises significant policy questions because if the target is one that we might all agree is somebody who we should take out, there is a collateral consequence with the air strikes or drone strikes that get in the way of solid long-term diplomacy. to the extent we keep it in secret, we won't have. >> from vermont, peter welch. >> thank you. new outrage in the murder of the olympian's girlfriend. mull
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good day to all of you. welcome to weekends with alex witt. let's get to what is happening out there. we are learning the specifics the president's plan on immigration reform. kristen welker is traveling with the president in port st. lucie. what are the details of the preside president's plan? >> usa today is reporting they were given a draft copy of the president's proposal. increasing funding for border security and requiring employers to check immigration status. white house chief of staff dennis mcdonough did not confirm
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it. we heard the president saying he will be ready with his plan if congress cannot act. there are some members putting together a form. they have confidence the group of senators will put something on the table. here is what more of what the chief of staff had to say earlier today. take a listen. >> we want to continue building on the strides we made on border security. we want there to be an earned path to citizenship. we want the legal system which is too cumbersome and broken, we want that to be reformed as well. >> reporter: so he really mapped out the president's principles when it comes to immigration reform. alex, just this past week, the president met with democratic senators working on an
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immigration reform bill. we have not seen any legislation, but by all accounts, this is moving forward. immigration reform has a fair amount of broad bipartisan support. the devil is in the details. we are waiting to see what members of congress are coming up with. >> we have gotten reaction from one republican senator to this plan, right? >> reporter: we have. senator marco rubio. one of the republicans spearheading the effort. sharp words for the plan in the usa today report. alex, if actually proposed, it would be dead on arrival. congress leaving us with unsecured borders and broken immigration system for years to come. rubio has said that citizenship should depend on first making sure that the borders are secure. that is something that is being debated in congress. the senator making the argument that the president's plan leaking outdoes not help the
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immigration to move forward. we will have to see what happens moving forward. there are folks on both sides of the aisle working on immigration reform. after the 2012 race, president obama came away with a large number of latino voters. >> kristen welker, thanks so much. other front page politics and reaction from the white house on the battle playing out in congress over chuck hagel's nomination for defense secretary. here is what was said on "meet the press." >> he will be a great defense secretary. this is a guy who volunteered to go to vietnam. heavily decorated when he was there. he is in the last four years, as the president's chairman on the advisory board, in the senate where he is a leading republican senator, he has done the hard stuff. >> joining me now is aaron
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malone and chris yates. chris, white house chief of staff thinking the battle will hurt chuck hagel. is that the conventional wisdom? >> i think there is a feeling when you have republicans saying they get back after the week off they will vote to end the filibuster. there is not more room to hurt him. i think the chief of staff is right on this. hagel will move forward. he has been damaged and bloody and will move forward. there have been others that have gone through bloody nomination battles and have come out fine. >> thank you for understanding my question properly. what i intended. and john mccain says he thinks hagel will be confirmed.
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what is the issue with the delay? >> there are so many opportunities for grandstanding. john mccain has so much to settle. there is so much posturing over benghazi. ultimately the president has to see this through. the republicans in the senate on pounding the table ted cruz style talking about north korea. this is the time for them to galvanize their base. >> let's get to the march sequestering. today, republican congress member paul ryan is making a prediction. let's listen. >> the senate hasn't passed the bill. the president gave a speech saying he would like it. i conclude it will take place. >> okay. chris, you heard the congress member believing the he sequest
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is going to happen. >> it was interesting today. chuck schumer doesn't think the sequester will go into place. that is on the heels of the democratic proposal last week that was a mix of increased tax revenues and spending cuts to avoid the sequester. that is a no go. the republicans are saying no more tax increases. we agreed to that to avoid the fiscal cliff. we will not do that with sequestration. you are working with john boehner to make sure all republicans on are message. i was talking to a moderate democratic senator last week saying he thinks it could be into the spring or summer before members realize maybe we should do something here and we have to get home for our parades and for the fourth of july and it may drag out that long. >> irin, you have congress in
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recess until the 25th. the sequester deadline is march 1st, friday. you have four days. is there any sense of urgency here among lawmakers to get a deal done to avert the crisis? >> so far, lawmakers are more important of pointing fingers. i'm not optimistic. we may see a replay of the fiscal cliff. let's put a band aid on it and hope for the next deadline. we are going to kick the can down the road. >> let's more on to immigration. irin, senator mccain immigration on "meet the press." >> he drafted and guiding his agencies to comment on. if the president proposes legislation, do you think it will fail? >> of course. of course it will. that's why we are working together, republicans and democrats. by the way, he had no
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communications with republicans on the issue, unlike the previous four presidents i dealt with. i believe we are making progress on a bipartisan basis. >> irin, the republicans and democrats on the hill. what is the plan before something official comes from the hill? >> i think you should consider who wants credit for what and who takes blame if it fails? the republicans are looking for the long-term issue of latino voters and so are democrats. the difference between what the president has talked about and the senate has talked about is small. we are talking about increased enforcement in security and pathway for citizenship. i think the white house is trying to put a bit of pressure and people on the hill are frankly upset about it because they want credit for it first. >> chris, why does john mccain dismiss the president's plan out
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of hand? >> i think republicans say it doesn't focus on what is important. border enforcement and security. when they talk about immigration. they need to talk about those things before they talk about a path to citizenship and a way of keeping and making the illegal immigrants already here part of the american society. there is a sense among republicans that they can't allow the president to start to dictate terms. there is a very, very -- lots of good talks among republicans and democrats with the gang of eight. they are moving forward. they are trading legislative language and coming with a proposal that they hope to have in front of the judicial committee next month. they don't want to give ground to influence these talks that have gone very well so far. >> chris frates and iri
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irin carmone, thank you. thousands gathering on the national mall with a climate change rally. organizers are expecting 20,000 people today. organizers say it is an effort to raise awareness about climate change and protest the keystone xl pipeline. joining me now is coral davenport. welcome back. good to see you. >> thanks. >> you tweeted this was the largest climate change rally ever in the u.s. what type of impact would that have? >> they are expecting 20,000 or in the tens of thousands. organizers are expecting in the tens of thousands to attend this rally. what this rally is about is president obama has made clear in his inauguration speech and state of the union speech that he wants to make climate change a priority in his second term.
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he did that in his first term. it got pushed to the back burner. the climate bill change failed. they don't want this to be an issue that slips behind issues like immigration or issues like gun control. there are a couple of things the president can act on climate change without congress this year. one would be using the environmental protection agency on coal-fire power plants. the president will probably do that. the other thing is whether or not he will approve or deny the keystone pipeline. on that, the president has not shown his hand. he hasn't indicated what he will do. this is his environmental base saying we will not forget this. don't let go of this. move forward. we're pushing you on this. >> with regard to the keystone
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pipeline, it is something that has been delayed. there have been previous demonstrations around the 10,000 mark was the last one. it did result in something concrete. at least a delay. are you hopeful at what is happening today can spur more concrete action? >> certainly the environmentalists who are protesting today are hopeful of that. what they did with their protests during the campaign season really worked. in 2011, the state department and obama administration was very much on track to approve the keystone pipeline. it was close to signed, sealed and delivered until the environmental groups rallied around the white house and sent the message to the president. that message was if you approve this pipeline, you lose us. we might not vote for mitt romney, but we will not back you with the passion we did in 2008. we will not knock on doors and we will not be this passionate
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base for you. the white house paid attention. they delayed the pipeline. now they are saying that tactic worked. we will try it again. the difference, this time, the president is not running for re-election. and so that will be really interesting to see whether it has an impact when votes are in play. >> votes and the economy. the question has to be asked how much will the white house invest in the cause in the second term? do they have to weigh the climate change against the economy in recovery? could that hurt jobs out there? >> this is absolutely an economic economy. the president and congress -- the president, it seems clear. he wants to act on climate change. there will be a lot of cost benefit analysis that has to be made over the economy. one thing we may see is the
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president moving forward on epa regulations on coal plants signaling that as this is flexing executive authority and taking action on climate change, but we may see a tradeoff. moving on that and approving the keystone pipeline as well. we will see the president trying really hard to weigh in and taking action on climate change, but trying not to harm the economy in the short-term. >> coral davenport in d.c. thanks. he pulled the trigger on osama bin laden. now two years later, one of the most war decorated hero is facing a future without much help from the military. clump cre . big green brush, curved to crush. 200% more volume. zero clumps. new clump crusher from easy, breezy, beautiful covergirl. i just served my mother-in-law your chicken noodle soup but she loved it so much... i told her it was homemade. everyone tells a little white lie now and then.
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it was one of the most important american military operations ever. but the elite forces that killed
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osama bin laden will never have a homecoming parade. they will never publicly receive a medal. that is the way it is supposed to be. the navy s.e.a.l. that actually killed osama bin laden reveals they will not receive benefits or protection. it is causing many to question how america treats its troops. joining me now is former navy s.e.a.l. brandon webb. glad to have you here. >> thanks. >> your reaction before we get to the details. having this former navy s.e.a.l. speak out about the shooting of osama bin laden. >> i personally through there is a motive why he would talk to "esquire." it puts the community and puts us in a bad light. it comes off as a bit of whining, so to speak. i think the shooter had a motive to talk to "esquire."
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he got a little more than he bargained for. i doubt he wanted it to be framed up the way it did. the issue that is important is there is a problem in the military where we have probably one of the largest transition periods since vietnam. we have veterans coming back and transitioning from active duty to civilian life. there is plenty of opportunities at the veteran affairs level, the transition process is a one-week of half day classes to prepare you to go back to civilian life. a lot of guys that need help are falling through the cracks. >> you can imagine. what about things like health insurance? there is a discussion how he had health insurance. one that could help bridge that gap before he had to take it on himself. it was blue shield or something insurance. they don't offer that? >> the thing people need to know about this particular person is that he could have stayed four
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years. his command and the community encouraged him to finish his four years. >> not with his team? >> no, there is some political drama at the group these days. much more than the command would like to admit. >> as a result of the killing of osama bin laden? >> yes. it was put on the national stage and i think the navy and s.e.a.l. community has done a little too good a job of putting themselves out there in the press. now there is a massive amount of interest in the s.e.a.l. community. you have the historic mission that the bin laden raid was. you have the guy who shot osama bin laden and he is under a tremendous amount of pressure and that is tough to bear. >> he could have stayed on for four years and got a partial pension once he got out. he could have stayed for 14 years and gotten more. >> and full health care benefits for himself and family if he does four more years.
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>> this is a guy who has to live with the trauma of shooting osama bin laden. that "esquire" piece does a job of the instant when he realized who was standing in front of him. you have to understand why we are fascinated by it. >> i can understand. it is one of those things that the journalist that did that "esquire" piece, he did not understand the way the military works and retirement benefits. >> and what about this individual's concern about retaliation? he talks about his wife knowing how to shoot a gun. he talks about teaching his children to go hide in bathtubs in anything happens. who should be living with that without having some assistance getting your family through? >> that is an entirely different subject. anyone on that particular raid should be taken care of when it comes to security and security
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of their family. i, myself, have received death threats. it's a very real threat that i don't think a lot of people take into account. this guy and the guys of the group are heroes. there is no doubt about that. they are in a very tough situation when it comes to security. who wouldn't? what jihadist wouldn't want it? >> absolutely. you talk about that -- you are a former navy s.e.a.l. i appreciate your time and service and your time with me here. thanks. >> thank you. we are fast approaching ten years since the start of the war in iraq. rachel maddow is looking into the key decisions that led mesh into war. it is called hubris. it is based on the book "hubris" from michael isikoff.
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>> the joint resolution is passed. >> the vote is overwhelming. the margin 3-1 in the senate. the president is given a free hand. >> the days of iraq acting as an out-law state are coming to an end. >> powell walked into my office. he walked over to the window. he said i wonder what will happen when we put 500,000 troops in iraq and find nothing. he turned back around and walked into his office. i wrote that down on my calendar as close to verbatim as i could. i thought that was profound coming from the secretary of state. >> hubris airs tomorrow night right here on msnbc. up next, an iraq war veterans hip hop therapy to combat haunting memories of the war. ♪
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in his state of the union address, president obama announced an acceleration of the troop withdraw from afghanistan halving the size by this time next year. with 20% of veterans suffering from post traumatic stress d disord disorder, it is not the end of their fight. e soldier found solace in one place. hip hop. ♪ stay on my guard ♪ ♪ i pray to the lord ♪ this post traumatic stress ♪ disorder gets to the best of me ♪ >> joining me now is hip hop artist jeff.
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>> good to be here. >> you talk about wanting to get away from the ptsd and get back to where you were before. when did you know you had problems? >> it was about six months after i got out of the army. i got out in july of 2010. six months after i realized i was angry all the time. i did not want to be around family. i did not want to be around friends. i found myself drunk. i wanted to be around my soldiers i served with. i isolated myself. i felt angry all the time. i finally said i have a problem. i will seek help. i went to the va. >> you sought help that way. your therapy is this music. talk about that and how it worked for you. >> it was an accident. i did music for the love of it. i am from vallejo, california.
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i grew up with music. as i did it, i noticed a lot of veterans were coming up to me and telling me how much my music has helped them. i'm going to turn this negative into a positive and create music about my experience and what we go through as war fighters. >> and your album is called "road to recovery." i love the way you reached out to your fellow colleagues there. the hat that you are wearing it says redcon-1. that is a music company you created. you are inviting other iraq war veterans and veterans of all kind to come help make music? >> that is what i'm doing. a label i created. we are in the process of becoming a non-profit. we are specializing in music therapy. it is for civilian artists who want to show support for the military. bring them on. let's make music as therapy and
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tell the world about our stories. maybe it can impact their life in a positive way. >> what is your web site? >> redcon-1.corg. >> thank you. i appreciate it. coming up, the premier of the reality tv show featuring "the blade runner's" girlfriend and why it is spurring outrage. ♪ ♪ i'm janelle monáe. and i'm a covergirl. ♪ they're about 10 times softer and may have surface pores where bacteria can multiply.
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what we need are people prepared for the careers of our new economy. by 2025 we could have 20 million jobs without enough college graduates to fill them. that's why at devry university, we're teaming up with companies like cisco to help make sure everyone's is ready with the know how we need for a new tomorrow. [ male announcer ] make sure america's ready. make sure you're ready. at ♪ welcome back to weekends with alex witt. here are your fast five headl e headlines. tens of thousands greeted the pope in st. peter's square. another case of irony of a shooting death of a teenage woman in chicago. the woman was gun down hours after her younger sister attended president obama's school speech ending gun
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violence. an idaho man is facing charges after slapping a toddler on a recent flight after the child was crying. the 63-year-old used a racial epithet. at the gas pumps, the national average is 3 cents higher up to $3.71. prices have gone up 42 cents in the past month. in amesbury, massachusetts, an auction of 3,500 items of john f. kennedy's estate. the value of the bomber jacket is $40,000. new twists and outrage in the murder mystery in south africa. star olympian oscar pistorius is accused of the shooting death of his girlfriend. he is spending the weekend in a jail cell charged with murder. michel
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michelle kosinski has the story. what can you tell us about the bat? >> reporter: that is one of many details quoting sources. pistorius has been in the jail for days now. he got visits from family and a preacher who said he was crying and they cried and prayed together. also, his agent arrived here saying he wanted to talk about pistorius' career with him. a big race he had coming up. also to lend moral support. all over the press today, they are quoting police, unidentified police sources saying things like a cricket bat is now considered a key piece of evidence. police believe reeva steenkamp was first shot in pistorius' bedroom on valentine's morning and then shot three times through a door. then pistorius broke through the door to help her.
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then two friends of pistorius claimed he called them frantically before 4:00 a.m. that morning telling them that he accidentally shot reeva. one of them, a woman, said she arrived right away to see pistorius carrying a gravely wounded reeva down the stairs and the two of them tried to save her life, but could not. you know, alex, police did say pistorius did not call paramedics. his family, though, verimenthem insists he is innocent. then believing steenkamp was at one time an intruder in his house. >> a couple of questions. the time line for the intruder theory. does that work? wasn't she at the house for some time? >> reporter: you know what? this is again -- all of these
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reports are full of details. quoting unidentified friends and acquaintances and police sources. we should tell you this with a grain of salt none of this is confirmed by police. neither police nor prosecutors are speaking publicly or officially. according to some of the reports, there is cctv footage showing reeva steenkamp arriving at pistorius' house at 6:00 p.m. the night before valentine's day. there is no word of her ever leaving between that time and the time she was killed. that is not to say this wasn't somehow accidental in ways we cannot fathom at this point. if you wanted to go along with speculation, you could say someone could wake up in the middle of the night in a confused state. that is the only thing you could think of. all of this is nebulous at best at this point, alex. >> we know there is a certain amount of outrage over the
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reality she that reeva steenkamp was the star of which is on the air so soon. >> reporter: yeah, you know, there was a lot of debate over that here. i think some papers or groups are willing to jump on the producers of this and say it is crass. it is painful to see the video of reeva. to see someone so young and happy in the video living her dream of being on television. to know that now she is gone. that touched a lot of people. the producer said, we're going to show this as a tribute to her. we think it is an injustice to not show the world. the members of steenkamp's family were saying this is what reeva would have wanted. >> michelle, thank you very much for the live report from south africa. back here in the u.s., passengers on the cruise ship
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"triumph" are relieved to get off the ship, but anger is kicking in. now litigation with the company carnival. let's go to our panel on this. they are joining me. thank you. we should talk about the first lawsuit that has been filed in miami federal court. do you believe seema, people who go through an ordeal based on an accident have the right to -- not the right, but i guess the appropriate reasoning for filing a lawsuit? >> they do if they don't sign their rights away like they did in this case. alex, i know you looked at the ticket contract as well as jay and i. we looked at it. it is just astounding that these passengers essentially signed all of their rights away. their best bet is and i'm sad to say this, if there is a physical injury, they can sue on that basis as opposed to other
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emotional distress. those have been waived. it is important to file their notice within six months and because of the contract, they agreed to file the claim within a year. >> the contract says what you are saying. it says the guest agrees this shall not be severable under any circumstances. what you could get something for what you experienced? >> if you prove something intentional and prove something within six months. it has to be in a nature of super gross negligence. >> for what? >> if they hired someone on the boat convicted of rape or murder and they took care of children and they knew about it. >> what about the fire and the disgusting mess for four days? >> the answer is almost nothing. another concept is if you have a right to sue, the issue of
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damages coming into effect. the fact you were uncomfortable and bothered, everybody is bothered by a circumstance like that. if you don't have any permanent injuries or psychological injuries, there is no damages. >> what about class action though? >> this is a great interesting area of law, actually. a few years ago, at&t mobile was involved in a case that went to the supreme court and that case will prevent these passengers from pursuing this class action. there is a class action waiver that we all read in the ticket contract. they agreed to this. now still, the law is saying that we can't argue that this shouldn't apply to us. they will have a lot of trouble going with the class action lawsuit. instead, the law will allow them, it seems like from the supreme court case, for them to file on individual basis. >> here is what is interesting in the ticket contract they
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signed, jay. it talks about staff on board the ship and excursions when you are in port and the ship's doctor. they are all contractors. >> they do that because you can sue an entity and employees acting on behalf of the entity. if they are independent, they are saying there is no connection with the independent contractor, the bus boy or pool boy. there are two other big layers. the company is incorporated in panama. the ship flies under a bahama flag. it gets very confusing. i think we talked about this before. there are almost no rights a passenger has. >> i'm glad you straightened out what we could. thank you. the sequester is fast approaching and congress is
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it is time for the big three. today's topics, no big deal and burning questions and must reads. let's bring in the panel. and former chief economic adviser is jared burnstein. hello to the three of you. thank you for joining us. jared, i'll begin with you here. it doesn't seem like congress has a sense of urgency on the sequester. is that for a valid reason or is that kind of false and dangerous thinking? >> it is more false and dangerous thinking than validity. agree with you vis-a-vis the thinking. most would be scratching their heads as to why congress is not
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worried. we are talking about if the sequester takes hold, 70,000 kids losing their head start slots. 14,000 teachers for those kinds of programs laid off. 30,000 kids losing child care assistance. people say that is bad, but it doesn't affect me. if you travel, you will encounter longer lines because transportation security will have to furlough. air traffic controllers will have to layoff. that means some airports will close. this is a big deal. if these things take effect, there may be enough pressure for congress to come back to the table and negotiate this. one thing the economy doesn't need right now is another kick in the shins like this. >> you are talking about congress coming back and negotiati negotiating. robert, let's listen to juan castro. let's see who is to blame.
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>> it's the president who proposed this sequester. the president who designed this sequester. it is the house republicans who replaced the sequester with smarter cuts in other areas of government. >> this was never the president's idea. this was the result of hostage politics engage by a tea party republican control party. this is the message you have with the hostage politics. >> who is right there? >> i think they are both right. let's put this in context. the president agreed to the he is sequester at the end of the day. at the end of the day, the democrats agreed to this a year and a half ago. i agree with jared there are economic and political consequences if the sequester goes through. i have a suspension that staff and members are work behind the scenes for that not to happen. this lays a fear approach that we see on the surface is just a
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facade. i think the congress will come together and get something done because the political ramifications and economic ramifications, particularly from the republican perspective is that high. >> i'll ask the journalist here, it looks like we have four days once congress gets back next monday, a week from tomorrow. do you think a deal will be reached? >> i think there are hill aides working on a package. there are people looking an the problem and trying to find a solution. that said because of the congressional recess and deadline coming quickly, it will not happen march 1st. we will see the cuts take effect. it will not be like the fiscal cliff would have been because of the issue of resources drying up and contracts not being renewed. it is a different process and different kind of cut. congress has a month of wiggle
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room to figure something out. i'm optimistic they will come up with a package to stave off the larger fiscal deal by the end of march when there is another looming deadline when the continuing resolution to fund the government ends. >> month of wiggle room? >> i will say i like robert's optimi optimism, but i think this is more what we will see. what you call a month of wiggle room is the month of cuts and they take effect. we have an economy that is slowi slogging along. to hit it with that magnitude is bad policy. let's not forget these are self inflicted wounds. this is the opposite of what we want. >> let's move on to burning questions. how serious is this proposal? how much would this help to
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alleviating poverty or as critics suggest, would it just mean cuts in jobs for the small business owners have to pay mor employees? >> working backwards we have had dozens of federal minimum wage increases. we have 19 states with their own minimum wages. if it had the job loss or disemployment effects we would have seen them. there is research that suggests the benefits outweigh the costs in that regard. is it a serious proposal? it has a huge legislative hurdle to get over. it is interesting to recall that both bush presidents signed increases in the minimum wage. so republicans have signed on to this kind of thing. in terms of poverty reduction it absolutely helps. if you are poor and working you have a low wage job and this will help you.
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>> senator marco rubio saying the plan dead on arrival. do you see how it makes people think the gop is the party of no these days? >> i can see how people see that. republicans have to stand for something. there is a principle behavior that says we don't agree with this. let's see if the democrats will give something. i think that the president's immigration proposal is probably dead on arrival. he is probably positioning it so far to the less because he doesn't want to give republicans a political win. >> i want to ask you of the three items proposed which do you think could become a reality? >> i look at this by process of elimination.
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i don't think minimum wage increase has a chance of passing. pre-k education republicans will look at it as a deficit the creaser. climate change i think is the one the president will probably focus on. he has mentioned it in his inauguration and state of the union. it is an important issue. >> coming up next big three's must read recommendations. band i can't stop eating 'em! what's...that... on your head? can curlers! tomato basil, potato with bacon... we've got a lot of empty cans. [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. we've got a lot of empty cans. it's been said that beauty is in the ewell...behold. der. behold water so blue it merges with the sky above. behold natural beauty above the sea, and far below. behold smiles so wide they stretch across the face of an entire nation.
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we are just getting word that the president has been playing golf today with that guy, tiger woods ranked number two in the world along with ron kirk and jim crane. he is playing in florida. we know he is taking a weekend off to play golf. we heard that michelle obama has sent the president a tweet saying honey, call home. my panel today for the big three. let's get to your must read. what is it? >> amanda becker has a story
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about the future of the voting rights act which is getting its day at the supreme court at the end of the month. >> what is your must read? >> the real cost of shrinking government. this idea of cutting the government is always a big abstraction. read this argument and find out what it really means. >> did you have one big take away from that? >> i mentioned it in the first segment. if you have a kid who is benefitting from head start if you happen to be one of these people that flies and stands in line at airports, if you go to national parks, all of those face cutbacks from the sequester. >> robert, how about yours? >> you know how every organization has a new kid on the block. today's "new york times" has a great story on senator from texas about not respecting senatet traditions.
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it is a must read. >> all three of you guys home runs. have a good one. and that is a wrap of this sunday edition of "weekends with alex witt." up next, "meet the press." have a great day. i'm up next, but now i'm singing the heartburn blues. hold on, prilosec isn't for fast relief. cue up alka-seltzer. it stops heartburn fast. ♪ oh what a relief it is! just begin with america's favorite soups. bring out chicken broccoli alfredo. or best-ever meatloaf. go to for recipes, plus a valuable coupon. campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do.
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